# Electric circuit

#### panhandle444

##### Member
I'm looking for a diagram that shows how the electricity flows from the circuit breaker through the load.... To explain to an apprentice how a single phase circuit works.

Thanks

#### panhandle444

##### Member
Can't you just sketch one out by hand?
If Im here asking...obviously I'm not confident my electrical theory....power goes from circuit breaker....then through load....goes back on neutral to the utility transformer?

#### don_resqcapt19

##### Moderator
Staff member
If Im here asking...obviously I'm not confident my electrical theory....power goes from circuit breaker....then through load....goes back on neutral to the utility transformer?
Exactly...the return is always to the source.

#### drcampbell

##### Senior Member
Wiring Simplified has some good basic info.
I haven't seen the inside of Practical Electrical Wiring, but it's by the same author and likely to cover the basics just as well.

I find it's helpful to start with a battery (positive & negative terminals that don't change sides) and introduce AC later.

#### Seven-Delta-FortyOne

##### Goin’ Down In Flames........
Maybe someone else should teach the apprentices?

Not sure if that’s too caustic for this site, I’d so, I apologize in advance.

#### Dsg319

##### Senior Member
If Im here asking...obviously I'm not confident my electrical theory....power goes from circuit breaker....then through load....goes back on neutral to the utility transformer?
Could YouTube Engineering Mindset (believe his name is Paul). He’s got some good material pertaining to showing the fundamentals of how electricity works.

#### synchro

##### Senior Member
Exactly...the return is always to the source.
And even in the non-electrical world the word "circuit" usually refers to a path or journey ending in the same place, like a racetrack, someone on a lecture circuit, etc.
So there's a good reason they used the word "circuit" with electricity.

From the Oxford dictionary for "circuit":
Origin
late Middle English: via Old French from Latin circuitus, from circuire, variant of circumire ‘go round’, from circum ‘around’ + ire ‘go’.

#### panhandle444

##### Member
Exactly...the return is always to the source.
Thank you for your professionalism. Much appreciated in answering my question

#### panhandle444

##### Member
Could YouTube Engineering Mindset (believe his name is Paul). He’s got some good material pertaining to showing the fundamentals of how electricity works.
Thanks!

#### LarryFine

##### Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Some years ago, I posted this in response to a member who had trouble understanding neutrals and grounding. It doesn't directly explain your question, but may help.

#### roger

##### Moderator
Staff member
If Im here asking...obviously I'm not confident my electrical theory....power goes from circuit breaker....then through load....goes back on neutral to the utility transformer?
Here's a simple illustration of a two wire circuit., follow the arrows.

Roger

Staff member

#### drcampbell

##### Senior Member
So if I only connect a single breaker to my residential service, there will be no neutral? ...
That's right. It's only "neutral" if the currents in all the ungrounded conductors are equal & opposite* and no current is flowing in the white/grounded conductor.
If there's current flowing in it, it's not "neutral".
Why the white/grounded return conductor is so widely called "neutral" when it's not, I cannot explain. (let alone defend)

* or their vector sum is zero, where there's more than one phase.

#### K8MHZ

##### Senior Member
That's right. It's only "neutral" if the currents in all the ungrounded conductors are equal & opposite* and no current is flowing in the white/grounded conductor.
If there's current flowing in it, it's not "neutral".
Why the white/grounded return conductor is so widely called "neutral" when it's not, I cannot explain. (let alone defend)

* or their vector sum is zero, where there's more than one phase.
What is the name of the conductor in the drawing that the grounding electrode conductor is connected to?

#### K8MHZ

##### Senior Member
That's right. It's only "neutral" if the currents in all the ungrounded conductors are equal & opposite* and no current is flowing in the white/grounded conductor.
If there's current flowing in it, it's not "neutral".
Why the white/grounded return conductor is so widely called "neutral" when it's not, I cannot explain. (let alone defend)

* or their vector sum is zero, where there's more than one phase.
The NEC defines the neutral as the conductor connected to the mid point of a single phase three wire system. That's how I was taught as well.

#### roger

##### Moderator
Staff member
The NEC defines the neutral as the conductor connected to the mid point of a single phase three wire system. That's how I was taught as well.
Then what's your question? Forget the NEC definition, in a two wire circuit both sides of a load see the same current, in fact with a single load it is a series circuit

Roger